How to Rank #1 in Google [New Step-by-Step Case Study]

– In this video, I’m gonna show you how to rank number one
in Google step by step. In fact, you’ll see the exact process that I used to rank in the top three for the keyword list building. I’m Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko, and today, I’m gonna show you how to use strategies
like the content roadshow and the OBP formula to get
higher rankings in Google. Stay tuned. (soft electronic music) We’ve got a lot to cover in today’s video, so let’s get started. I recently published a
post to my blog called 17 Insanely Actionable
List Building Strategies, and my target keyword for
that page was list building. Now, the keyword list building
is insanely competitive. Think about it, every
email marketing company in the world wants to
rank for this keyword, and I’m a one-man show going head-to-head against giant companies like MailChimp, AWeber, and Infusionsoft. Bring it on, bring it on. At first, I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to outrank these big brands for such a competitive keyword, but thanks to the process
I’m about to share with you, by post quickly hit Google’s first page for my target keyword. Today, I rank in the top
three for list building. My post also ranks number one in Google for dozens of related keywords
like list building tips, list building strategies, and more. Thanks to all these first-page rankings, that single piece of content has brought in 79,807 visits
since I first published it. Okay, enough bragging. It’s time for me to show you how I did it. Specifically, I’m gonna show you how to rank in Google
for competitive keywords. Without further ado, let’s kick things off with step number one, make your
content insanely actionable. Google recently rolled out a major update to their algorithm called RankBrain. RankBrain measures how Google searchers interact with your site
in the search results. If people like your result, Google gives you a rankings boost. If not, they’ll drop your
rankings like a stone. From my own SEO experiments, I found that all Google searchers want the same thing, actionable content. Think about it. When someone searches
for something in Google, they don’t want to read some
random person’s opinion. Instead, they want tactics that they can use to solve
their problem right away. If you can give that to them, Google will notice and
bump you up a few spots. For example, when you search
for the keyword list building, you don’t want to hear why building your email list is important. You don’t want my take on
the future of list building. You want simple strategies
that you can use right away. That’s why my post has
zero fluff and zero filler. It’s literally a short intro and 17 bite-sized tips
that you can implement within a few minutes. Because Google searchers love my result, I rank above sites like HubSpot and Forbes even though they have way
more backlinks than I do. Next up, it’s time for step number two, use the OBP formula. I recently conducted the biggest search engine ranking factor study ever, and one of our most interesting findings was that sites with a low bounce rate tend to rank above sites
with a high bounce rate. As you might already know, a bounce is when someone visits your site, and then quickly jumps
back to the search results. Obviously, if lots of people
bounce from your site, it sends a strong message to Google that people don’t like your content. Like I just mentioned, if people
aren’t liking your content, Google will notice,
and drop your rankings. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to improve your bounce
rate, the OBP formula. It’s a content introduction formula specifically designed to
reduce your bounce rate. Here’s how it works. First, you have the outcome. Start your intro off with the outcome that your reader wants. For example, what does someone searching for list building want? More email subscribers,
so I start my intro off with that outcome front and center. Okay, so now that you’ve hooked them with the outcome, it’s
time for the benefit. Here’s where you outline the benefit that someone will get
from reading your content. For example, my intro says that you’ll get access to 17 techniques that’ll help you get more leads. Finally, it’s time for the preview. This is simply where you preview what your content has in store for them. For example, my preview gives people a sneak peak into my post, which makes them want to keep reading. Now it’s time for our third
step, use external links. Last year, an SEO agency in the UK ran an experiment to see if
linking to other websites helped improve Google rankings. They found that pages
that used external links consistently outranked
pages that didn’t link out. That’s why I always generously link out to other authority sites in my content. For example, in my post, I use 16 external links,
including links to authority sites like the Journey of Commercial Research. Now, to be clear, I don’t think that external links are super important, but every little bit helps, especially when you’re going
after competitive keywords. Now that you’ve added external links, it’s time to use internal links. Next, it’s time to create internal links that point to the page
that you want to rank. In other words, add links from other pages on your site to your new post. Those internal links will send link authority to your post, which can help your Google rankings. For example, you can see that I link from these two pages on my site to my list building post, which funnels juice to the
post that I want to rank. Not only that, but the
pages I’m linking from are topically related to
my list building post, so this tells Google, hey, these closely-related pages are all linking to the same post. That post must be important, so you should rank it higher. Okay, so now that your
links are good to go, let’s move on to the fifth step, add images, visuals, and other multimedia. Imagine that you had
two pieces of content. Let’s call them Blog
Post A and Blog Post B. Let’s say that both pieces of content were exactly the same
with one major difference. Content A looked ugly, and Content B used lots of nice images. Which post will do better? According to lots of
industry research, Content B. In fact, a study conducted
by Sheffield University in the UK found that people judge content based on design first. Then, they size up the
actual written content. If your content is a
giant, ugly wall of text, Google users are gonna instantly bounce, but if your content uses lots of images, charts, visualizations, infographics, videos, and quizzes,
they’re gonna stick around and read your stuff, which can
help your ranking in Google. For example, my post is
packed with screenshots, visuals, and other multimedia that help make my content look nice. Now, I should point something out. You don’t need to go crazy and use a million images in every post. Our search engine ranking factor study found that content with one image outranked pages that
didn’t use a single image. Using one image is way better than not using any at all. With that, it’s time for step number six, CTR-optimize your title. Like I mentioned earlier,
Google pays very close attention to how people interact with your site, and they want to see that people click on your site in the search results. If an above average amount of people click on your site, it tells Google people really want to see this content, and we need to push it
to the top of the page. This is known as organic
click-through rate, which is an SEO ranking factor that’s becoming more and
more important every day. If you’re not optimizing
your site for CTR, you’re missing out on a
lot of organic traffic. With that, here’s exactly what I did to optimize my title
for click-through rate. First, I emphasize that people could use my content right away. Like I mentioned before,
Google searchers are impatient. They want an answer to their question or help with their problem now, so it’s important to emphasize that your advice works quickly. That’s why I included the phrase, “That work fast,” in my title. Next, I made sure to use
a number in my title. Several industry studies show that titles that contain a
number get clicked on more than titles without a number, and a recent study by Polar found that odd numbers perform slightly
better than even numbers, so I made sure to include the odd number 17 in my title tag. The combination of
emphasizing quick results and using an odd number helped
increase my organic CTR, which pushed my site over my competitors on Google’s first page. Moving right along to step number seven, which is to optimize your
content for semantic SEO. You already know that you should mention your target keyword a few
times in your content. For example, you can see that I mention my keyword a handful
of times throughout my post. Now, I’m not keyword-stuffing here. That doesn’t work anymore. I’m just using my target
keyword a few times to let Google know that my
content is about that keyword, and to help them understand
my content even better, I optimize it for semantic SEO. This isn’t nearly as
complicated as it sounds. Semantic SEO simply means that Google now tries to understand
the topic of your page, not just individual keywords. To take advantage of semantic SEO, all you need to do is sprinkle related words and phrases
into your content. These related words and phrases help Google understand
your content’s topic. For example, let’s say
that you just wrote a post about being more productive, and your main keyword for that
post is productivity tips. You just search for that keyword and related keywords in Google. Then check out the
searches related to terms at the bottom of the first page. Finally, add those terms to your content. You can also use Google Suggest. Enter your keyword into Google, and see what Google suggests to you. Again, add a handful of
these to your article, and you’ll help Google better understand what your content is all about. In my case, I found
semantically-related terms like list building strategies and how to build an email list, so I added those terms to my
content where it made sense. Simple. Let’s keep it moving
with step number eight, generate lots of comments
on your blog posts. Can comments really help your content rank better in Google? Definitely. In fat, a Google employee recently said that comments can help
a lot with rankings. If you go to my blog, you’ll notice that I tend to get lots of
comments on every post. These comments are one of the main reasons that I’m able to rank for so
many competitive keywords. The question is, how do
you actually get people to comment on your content? Here are two tips that work great. First, reply to every single content. I’m shocked at how many people complain that no one comments on their stuff, and then completely
ignore the few comments that they do get. To show people that I respect their take, I reply to almost every
comment that comes in. For example, you can
see that I took the time to reply to everyone that left a comment on my list building post. This shows anyone that reads my post that I read and reply to comments, which makes them more likely to leave a comment too. Over time, Google sees that my content isn’t just a page of text, but an active community,
so they rank it higher. That said, the hardest part is usually getting the ball rolling
with the first few comments, which leads us to our second tip, make a conclusion or call
to action to comment. Let’s face it, most people’s conclusions are boring summaries of their post. They say things like, “There you have it, “six ways to blah, blah, blah.” Needless to say, a conclusion like that isn’t gonna light a
fire under anyone’s butt to actually write a comment. Instead, I recommend making
your entire conclusion a call to action that
encourages people to comment. For example, today, my post conclusion asks people to subscribe to my newsletter, but in the early days of the post where I tend to get 75% of my comments, my conclusion looked something like this. With that, it’s time
for our ninth strategy, use click-to-Tweet buttons. This is one of my favorite ways to get more social shares and traffic. I’ll explain how
click-to-Tweet buttons work in detail in a minute,
but the basic gist is that you add a bunch of buttons to your content that people can use to Tweet individual strategies from your post. In fact, my list building post includes 17 click-to-Tweet buttons. Now, I should point something out. Google probably doesn’t use social shares like Tweets, Facebook
likes, or Pinterest pins as a direct ranking signal. In other words, people sharing your stuff on social media won’t
help with SEO directly. That said, social shares
can bring your content more traffic, and the
more traffic you get, the better your chances
that some of these visitors will link to your site. Those links will directly
improve your rankings. With that, here’s how to create click-to-Tweet buttons step by step. First, find a tip, strategy, or quote in your content
that’s worth sharing. For example, because my
content was a list post, I decided that every technique on my list would make for a great Tweet. Next, use to
make a click-to-Tweet button. Simply write the Tweet you want, and it’ll create a link that you can use. Finally, add those links to your content. You can use buttons like I used here, or you can just make the
links plain text like this. Either way works. When someone clicks on one of
your click-to-Tweet buttons, they’ll get a pre-made
Tweet that they can use to share that specific
strategy with their followers. Let me tell you, these work great. In fact, most of the Tweets
that I got on my post are from people that shared
using my click-to-Tweet buttons. With that, it’s time
for strategy number 10, promote your content with
the content roadshow. Here’s the deal, if you want
to rank in Google today, you need to strategically promote every piece of content that you publish. In fact, this is a mistake I made when I was first starting out. When I launched my first
website a few years ago, I would just publish a bunch of content and hope for the best. I call this the publish-and-pray approach. Please rank in Google,
please rank in Google, please rank in Google. Back then, I underestimated
how hard it can be to actually get people to see the content that you publish, so I just published and prayed. One day, I read that
WordPress-powered sites alone put out two million blog
posts every single day. That’s when I realized that the chances of my content standing out without any promotion was
like winning the lottery, so I decided to promote
everything that I published. Over the years, I developed a handful of content promotion
strategies that work great. One of my favorites is
called the content roadshow. Thanks to the content roadshow, I was able to get my post in
front of influential bloggers, bloggers that shared my
post with their audience. With that, here’s the
step-by-step process. First, find people that are legitimately interested in your post’s topic. For example, for my
content, I found people that wrote about building an email list, or people that had shared
content on that topic. You can find these people
by searching in Google, or using a tool like BuzzSumo. Next, you want to email these people to see if they’re interested
in reading your content. This is key. You see, when most people
promote their content, they’re way too pushy. In fact, I get emails
like this all the time, emails that ask or beg
me to share their stuff, and I instantly delete them. Delete, delete, delete. Instead, I recommend a two-step approach. First, send the blogger this email that gauges their
interest in your content. That way, you’re not shoving
a link in somebody’s face. Here’s a real life example. When someone gets back to you saying that they’d like
to check out your content, then send them a link. Also, note that I don’t
ask for a share here. Again, the point of the content roadshow isn’t to be a pushy jerkface. I mean, nobody likes a pushy jerkface. Instead, the goal is to get your content in front of people that
have the power to share it, and these people aren’t dumb. If they like your
content, they’ll share it. There’s no need to even ask. In fact, you can see
that many of the people that I reached out to happily shared my content
with their followers, which led to hundreds of visitors that would’ve never seen
my content otherwise. Now, before we close out this video, let me show you a cool little bonus tip, which is to regularly update your content. Back in the day, I’d publish a post, promote it, and never look at it again. I realized that, over time, a lot of the content on
my blog was out of date. For example, for my list building post, I had old screenshots, outdated numbers, and tools that didn’t even exist anymore. Not only did this outdated
content hurt my readers, but it was bad for SEO too. Whenever someone came
to my site from Google and saw that my stuff was outdated, they’d bounce back to the search results to find something that was up to date. That’s why I set aside
about one day per quarter to review my content and update it. Sometimes, my content just
needs a new paint job, so I’ll replace broken
links, add new screenshots, and rewrite certain sections to make them more current. I’ve done this a few times
over the past year or so, and I’ve noticed that these small tweaks and upgrades help improve my
content’s long-term rankings. Sometimes, a new paint job won’t cut it. My content needs a complete overhaul. For example, this post on my
blog was pretty out of date. It was also lacking a lot of detail compared to the other content that was ranking for my
target keyword, white hat SEO, so I went in and completely overhauled and upgraded my post. For example, I improved
my page’s readability and structure so that Google searchers could find what they needed even faster. I also added a new case study to make the steps easier to
understand and implement. Finally, I answered questions
that people asked me in blog comments and on Twitter. For example, lots of people asked me if the ROI of creating awesome
content is really worth it, so I added some data to show that, at least in this example,
publishing world-class content is well worth it. Those improvements helped increase that page’s organic traffic by over 250%. Okay, so I hope today’s video helped show you how to rank in Google, and if you learned something
new from this video, make sure to subscribe to the Backlinko YouTube channel right now. Just click on the subscribe
button below this video. Also, if you want exclusive SEO strategies that I only share with subscribers, head over to and
sign up for the newsletter. It’s free. Now, I want to turn it over to you. Which strategy from today’s
video are you gonna try first? Are you gonna start using external links, or update your older content? Let me know by leaving a
comment below right now. Am I good, lined up? Okay. That’s a lovel– (mumbles) Is that how you make it rain? I don’t know, it’s like (moans) You were doing, like, a three-finger. So I added those terms to my co– Sorry. I needed to be ready. Bring it on, bring it on.

100 Replies to “How to Rank #1 in Google [New Step-by-Step Case Study]”

  1. Hi there Brian Dean, lets say you were selling a physical product through a webshop – selling beers for instance. What types of posts would you make? (thats an actual situation that i'm finding my self in:-)) How would you go about it in terms of OBP?

  2. omg. Dean you really are Good at it. Why I'am struggling trying to find How. I forgot about you, that I learned the bucket brigade from you… Thank You for this Tips again Dean.

  3. Brian, fantastic PRACTICAL content!!!! You mentioned how important are images on an article. Can share some tools or software that I can use to add those images , charts visualizations, infographics? Thanks

  4. I'm preparing a blog, sometimes I get demotivated…

    then I watch one of your videos and


  5. For SEO the comments must be "native" of the website or we can use external systems like Facebook, disqus? The second option is much more simple but maybe ineffective?

  6. Nice CTA and the end of your vid to encourage comments. So here you go mate, your comment. I'll leave a like too πŸ™‚ Super helpful video.

  7. Hi Brian
    Which video editor do you use?
    I have A Window device
    What light video editor should i use
    I am a beginner.

  8. I was wondering what do you use for your site, or recommend, to help limit and/or filter out all the spammy comments that you can get on posts?

  9. My favorite part of your videos is about 97% of it is serious, great information, but its that 3% humor that never really feels forced that make the videos fun to watch.

  10. Your not #1 on Google for 17 insanely actionable list building strategies. When I type in list building strategies you don't show up at all on the first page. Your Youtube video for this is on the 2nd page of google first spot. And for 17 insanely actionable list building strategies you are way down at the bottom of the 2nd page, maybe even the third page because I have it set up to where I can see like 100 results. This is not to say anything bad about you. You have amazing content which scares me. It makes me wonder just what in the hell Google wants. I understand Google wants content that is useful to the readers, but do they have to make it so hard to rank that you may have a chance with a college degree in SEO? IMO Google needs to go away, they are nothing but a bunch of dictators.

  11. Great stuff as usual. It'd be great to see examples of industries where it's harder to create actionable content. Like for hospitality, restaurant and hotels.

  12. Glad I found your channel. You have a lot of great tips. What screen capture software do you use? I struggle in that area

  13. Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!

    What a video. Great teaching style. Attention grabbing from start to finish.

    Would that I could make this type of videos.

    Thanks brian. Love and Respect from Pakistan!

  14. This is a great video Brian and there's a ton of stuff in here I will be using. But I couldn't help noticing that even your "list building" article received an 83.26% bounce rate according to your analytics screen grab. So how do you get that number to come down? I find bounce rates on blog posts really hard to reduce because users just "read and leave"

  15. nice video am from philippines and youtube here is very popular and vlogger keep increasing and I learn a lot from your video very specific and details that we asian fully understand and I will start my passion to be vlogger and I will keep all your advice so happy to see your video this will serve as a mentor for my future youtube journey more power sir brian thank for such unselfish heart to share this to us who want to do our passion in life and be vlogger a great learning to a biginner like us😍😍😍

  16. Boa tarde tudo bem mesmo muito bom seu canal parabΓ©ns mesmo Γ“tima tarde pra vocΓͺ meu Grande amigo sucesso sempre πŸ™ŒπŸ™πŸ™‹πŸ™πŸ™ŒπŸ™πŸ™‹πŸ™ŒπŸ™πŸ™‹πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘Œ

  17. Some great advice, some I will follow, however, I hate pushy sales techniques.
    Anyone who emails me, without an invite, gets BLOCKED, without my reading the email. I would never cold-canvas someone by email.

  18. Hey, Am gonna get straight to the point, you changed my yt channel and today i rank #1 on youtube for the term "Super power training simulator glitch" And many more. Most of my videos get hundreds of veiws. I just wanna say thanks and want to wish you a good day.

  19. New Subscriber! God bless you, my brother! What You've Shared I know gurus who are charging upwards of $1000s and yet here you are spreading your golden value for FREE may your return be an everlasting bliss in all that you do!

  20. your video is very helpfull to me but I have some wonder if you could tell me further.
    1. Normally when you link out to other authorities site, are you using DOfollow link or nofollow

  21. Hi Brian! A quick question 😊
    My e-commerce is new and got a new blog post just now! I have optimized the content, title tag and meta description! Now on the 2nd page!!
    But just wondering, if no one clicks the 2nd page to view my listing, how can I gain more organic traffic/rank higher even I have good content?

    Hope to hear from you!!!!
    Thanks a million

  22. Brain, I was really pissed off today since nothing was going my way even after working hard.I mean, I searched a lot to improve but nothing worked much and your video made me smile.

    I just made a strategy for people with a 9-5 job to type and promote an article.Perhaps, its beneficial for people like me.If there are any mistakes, feel free to make changes.

    1,2 and 3rd week (3 blogs)

    Monday- Research everything about the best article in our niche (Find from Buzzsumo) and create a map/ blueprint so that we can write in a structured manner.Usually I search for the low competition keywords using ubersuggest(Actually I was not doing proper keyword research but it failed)

    Tuesday – Write with proper editing on google docs – Structure and also a summary

    Wednesday – Add pictures(Beautify and infographics)/Videos/Proof/Case studies(Research analysis{To email – According to Neil Patel …}, inject keywords(Tools – Uber suggest), Quotes) – Beautification

    Thursday – Add affiliate links (Monetization)

    Friday – Promotion

    Saturday – Promotion

    4th week

    Monday – Make the 1st article better by adding more info from pinterest, quora, reddit, forums, books
    Tuesday – Make the 2nd article better by adding more info from pinterest, quora, reddit, forums, books
    Wednesday – Make the 3rd article better by adding more info from pinterest, quora, reddit, forums, books
    Thursday – Repurpose on Youtube
    Friday – Repurpose on Slideshare
    Saturday -Repurpose on Podcast

  23. I saw in another video, you mentioned about APP formula. I can choose one of them APP & OBP to apply to my post or use APP instead as it is a newer version of OBP? I'm not a blogger but I have been researching SEO for my company, I'm a bit confused. Thanks for your useful videos.

  24. Hi brian very nice video How an I establish myself as a brand Like have a million views on quora or 1 lakh views and lots of subscribers on youtube or what should be the way

  25. Your video cool 😎 as usual! My question is if you can do advertising just with SEO and really free not to buy any links? And if I have to buy links how much I I have spent on it. for a small business owner?

  26. Great work brother, love the info and it's helping a lot as I get ready to start creating content regularly. Thanks again.

  27. Hi Brian. Awesome content as always! You rock… I have been doing some of your tips without knowing it was important – now I will do it everytime. Thanks. And can I ask what application you do your animations in?

  28. Brian this was great for me but I have a question. How do I rank locally and strategize for that? Do you have a blog or video that can help me laser focus on that task of localised being number 1 on google and set a strategy?

  29. great video, I like external links strategy and also sharing the content in twitter by readers( tweet this content). it really helps

  30. Thank you for the great content. I had to start the video again and grab a pen and paper to write them down. Great ideas.

  31. Nearly 20 minutes of insanely great (and free!) tips from an industry leader. I’m definitely trying Link to Tweet today, and outreach.

  32. The best seo video I’ve seen ever πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ˜β€οΈ

  33. Well I must be doing something right. With only 18 months experience in website design this old construction guy is using my Google ranking to prove my company in growing. using the Incognito function on Chrome I did a search for this phrase. "construction safety companies fraser valley" the most generalised phrase of my occupation coupled with the name of the district that encompassed 1.2 dozen cities. Google came back with "About 7,400,000 results (0.36 seconds)". Not only was my google maps section featured on the right side of the page, my company took the 2nd and 3rd spot in ranking. the first was an advertisement from Yellow Pages. So I clicked on it. Iwas #2 on that list as well..

  34. Is there a good way to outrank quiz sites with an extensive article? Does the article need a quiz within it? What's going to be the best choice for a good quiz plugin for WordPress?

  35. hi Brian thanks for all this information I need to know . I just started my new blog which got 3 posts. After hearing your advice, there's a lot of improvement to do it on my blog. Anyway, i will do it step by step and make it ranked in google one day. Appreciate your video.

  36. The way you sound phrases is really annoying, I hope you don't talk like that in real life. Cause if you'd talk like that to me, I would slap you !

  37. Hi! Brian
    I have a question that if I give links of my competitors on my home page, will it improve my rank?
    I've learned a lot from your channel about YouTube SEO and now I'm trying my hands on Google. So i thought it would be nice to have some advice over such ideas.
    Thanks in advance

  38. Thanks, as the most prolific online article writer in history (31,500) I am very much enjoying all your videos on SEO strategy and having fun 'Liking' them all. Be great.

    Oh another thing you can do when updating old content on blogs for instance is to change the title. "How Google Used to Rank Pages and What Just Changed [New Apricot Algorithm]. Then you leave the old content and write 400 words above, then subtitle; the old title [SEO History]. Add some pictures. Lastly, all internal links should open a new page, which leaves the viewer on the old page while he's reading your other link, adds to viewing time of first page coming from search engine. Just some thoughts.

  39. Please share the details of finding a person who likes the content and shares it a lot. Who are the real "influencers" in their respective social network. It would be massive help! Thanks mate, for the awesome video on SEO!

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